Fagus (the genus of beech trees) is one of the first Tree Portraits created by printmaking duo Emma Buckmaster and Janet French. Fagus was shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2013 where, unsurprisingly, the entire edition very quickly sold out. The work being offered in the auction is the Artist's Proof of this edition - the last remaining work from this edition.
The Tree Portraits are a series of etchings printed onto paper made from the tree’s own leaves. The tree represented in Fagus is a magnificent beech tree on the Holkham Estate in Norfolk. Two further Tree Portraits in this series were shown at London's Royal Academy in 2016 when the artists were also featured in a BBC documentary about the exhibition. A year later in 2017, the Tree Portraits were highlighted by The Financial Times in their 'How to Spend It' supplement.
The Tree Portraits begin with collecting the leaves and, through a process of soaking and boiling, delicate sheets of paper are created using only the natural constituents of the leaves to bind them together. The leaves of each tree behave differently and the process is one of continuous experimentation. The etching is made on a steel plate because of the pressure necessary to print onto leaf paper. Whilst the paper is still damp the etched image is printed onto the leaves from the steel plate using a traditional etching press.
Emma Buckmaster has an MA from Cambridge School of Art and French a BA Hons from Colchester School of Art. They jointly chaired Gainsborough’s House Printmakers for three years and are members of The Arborealists artists group and The Printmakers Council.